Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jack Of Hearts

Hearts On Noses goes to various events trying to raise awareness of there work and ultimately funds to support it. I have always worked full time and am currently looking again after moving and now must as my insurance has run out. When I attend these events it takes a huge sacrifice and adds to the work load to pull it off. There is is only so many hours in two days off and when the first day off is catching up on routine piggy paddock clean up the second day is left for buying what ever is required for the work week ahead. Not any different from any body else except my extended family who must be cared for consists of 45 large animals. It will take truck loads of groceries , truck loads of hay and of course i will also have to put it all away.

Now in between I will fit in my own groceries, if there is room in the truck or return to town again for me after. Like any one else i will do a little clean up as things go in the fridge , things will be tossed and this goes for my feed room too. Most will take a garbage bag out, I will fill up my pick up truck after i tear down the cardboard boxes and gather up all the empty feed bags, tie it down or tarp as required by the tipping station.

Some say " well i do some of that after work at night". I feed 45 animals when i get home from work at night. There also will always be someone here who needs special care, special food and several who will need meds or supplements. The amount of time can suck up 2 1/2 hours every night.

I am also running the charity here which consumes the same amount of time as any small business would with paperwork, accounting , filing and customer service for people and pigs in need.

Now where am i going with all of this well when i do an event and it sucks up all the time i need to do everything else it has to be done after work at night. So for a week or so after work I am picking up hay and then putting it away and apologizing to every animal here who is weeing, whinnying, meowing and whining for there dinner. Everything will be set back and it will be a peanut butter sandwich for dinner for a few nights for me.

One of those nights after such a week-end event i left work and headed to the grocery store and planned on the way home to feed first and then put groceries away.

I pulled in the driveway and when i got out of my truck I heard a pig oofing very excitably to my left. This was the voice of a little pig not one of my big pigs who live in that direction so my first thought was "who got out"? All the pigs are safe in paddocks when i am not home.

Out from behind the house emerged one very excited little piglet and one I did not know. Gone are the days of emotions like panic as when your doing rescue your life is full of constant surprises. So when it registered this was a new pig i hoped when i went to grab a bag of apples to entice him with that he had arrived here alone.

This baby boy pig was not neutered and in a state of excitement having landed in a place full of girly pigs , some who weren't spayed due to age or health reasons. He was literally "foaming at the mouth" and racing from one paddock to another! He didn't want my apple offering, it was girls he wanted!!!

His capture on the two acres would require some help and thankfully back then i had a good volunteer who brought her husband along for the fun. We got this little pig corralled in a corner while he made advances at one of the girls . Tacked up a sheet of plywood to keep him there and then went and got a crate. Once in the crate with no empty pens i went to the barn and prepared water, food and a hay nest for the little tyke. The horse's would have to eat outside for a few weeks until i could get him neutered, accommodations, a house and a pen.

Once we got him settled in and some space between him and his desires , Jack Of Hearts was welcomed home. 2 hours have gone by and i still have to put groceries away and i have another mouth to feed.

I never found out who dropped him off here or what his story was but he is one of the Noses now.

And events i still try to fit in, but catch up is brutal.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tea Cup Pig

Four years ago a family wrote me after they had visited friends who were raising pigs for slaughter. They left after there visit with the runt of the litter fearing he would get trampled to death by the other pigs in his pen. They brought him home to there suburban home and fixed him a cozy place in the kids play house and then looked for a home for him and emailed me.

And what luck for this little pig as i actually had a great family who wanted to adopt a pot belly pig and were keen on a farm pig too. They visited the Sanctuary a few times and with pre-adotpion approved I did the home check too. I made several recommendations on the pen and care and little baby Roscoe would surely move there. In fact the night before his arrival i supplied the hay , the water dishes and a baby portable pen to be used.. He was just a baby and still only Tea Cup size ;o))

Contracts signed with a promise from the family to have him neutered before 3 months old as these pigs grow up fast and he was too teeny at this time. Two months later i began my phone calls at about every two weeks urging them to get him done. My last call just prior to Christmas was met with a strong promise from the family that i wouldn't need to worry, that baby Roscoe would be taken care of.

A few months later i was on the road and realized i was driving right by where Roscoe lived. A hot sunny day i pulled over and jumped out of the truck and me with no treats grabbed hand fulls of lush grass and walked up towards his enclosure on this 5 acre property.

The family was outside and the women seeing my arm full of grass asked me "do pigs like grass"? This was a HUGE red flag for me as that comment alone told me many things about how this pig was living. Gads them not knowing if he liked grass meant they never gave him hay at least to sleep on because then they would know he would eat it all and this also told me he never got out of the pen. Because if he was out on this rich grass he would be eating mouth fulls of the stuff and they would see that.

And as i walked by the man i asked him if he had Roscoe neutered and his reply was a 'nope" and i felt the anger welling up in me.

Roscoe now 4 1/2 months old was laying in knee deep mud in the same small pen big enough for a pot bellied pig not an animal 3x times that size.No hay for bedding and his water trough was bone dry. He welcomed the grass i brought him and now i was really mad.

Not pulling any punches i exclaimed this pig was not living like a companion animal , " you didn't even know if he liked grass??? " and no water , this pen is too small for him and don't you ever let him out???? I was met with "well we were thinking bout getting rid of him" .. and my reply " I'll be taking care of that!!"

I got to tell you when Roscoe and I go for walks around the acreage he follows me like any good dog would. Stopping to nibble now and then and then brushing his big self next to me as if he needs to confirm I am here for him and this brings him comfort as he expresses his love . He will dash off to explore on any given day but return to me 15 minutes later to confirm i am indeed here, like a child would do with his Mom. He welcomes me each time with throaty hello's and we catch up on news from when he last left my side.

His is huge and this picture shows you just how big he is in front of my friend Karen's truck. In person however the only thing big about Roscoe to me is his inquisitive nature and the security he needs from me when his big self gently brushes my side.

Will add pix later as Blogger is giving me some grief here ..

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why Do Canadian Farm Animal Sanctuary’s Struggle?

Americans gave more than $307.65 billion to their favorite causes despite the economic conditions in 2008. Total giving, when adjusted for inflation, was down 5.7 percent, the largest drop recorded since the group began keeping track of America’s charitable contributions. Many had expected a sharper decline in giving with the recession. It’s important to keep in mind that despite the downturn, giving still totaled $307 billion and individual giving continues to be in the 82 percent of total giving range.
USA as of February 2009, the United States has a total resident population of 305 million Areas: 9,161,923 SQ KM

Canadians donated a total of $10.0 billion in 2007, up from $8.9 billion in 2004. In 2007, the average donation was $437, compared with $400 in 2004. These increases were not adjusted for inflation.

As of April 1, 2009, Canada's population was an estimated 33,592,700,
Area: 9,093,507 SQ KM

The area per SQ KM is comparable; however the population base is substantially different therefore the donation base is over whelming compared to ours. This of course means more foundations, more grants , bigger industries and more people giving .
Pigs particularly have a stigma attached to them that they are dirty animals. Consider we say ‘sweat like a pig” or “messy like a pig sty” and ‘dirty or stink like a pig”. Pigs have no sweat glands and require shade or mud wallows to cool of in during the hot seasons. Pigs if given a choice will not relieve themselves where they eat or sleep. All animals are as dirty as there keeper is. And pigs have no scent at all once altered .
Even most ridged animal lovers can’t relate to pigs as companion animals and are prone to give to cat and dog rescues as that is who they can identify with the Spot or Fluffy because they have one laying on there beds. Compared to our USA counterparts and the difference in the population once again more will have pigs as pets so most Sanctuaries do quite well there.
Also Sanctuaries who also have a feline or canine population will draw the public support and quite often funds the farm animals in there care. For those of us specializing in one species such as horse’s , chickens , cows or pigs are struggling to fund there operation and are stagnant in growth and the inability to do more.
At January 1, Canadian hog producers had an estimated 11.6 million hogs on their farms. To the average person a pig is a pig, big or small.
Finally I will share a recent experience with a Brownie Leader who wanted her group the visit the Sanctuary but didn’t want her daughter to refuse pork when she left here. In her words she had enough trouble getting her to eat as it was. I have to also realize that this is not an isolated incident and that many simply do not want to face what they eat.